Most entrepreneurs realize that creating a professional business plan is an essential step in raising capital, but many do not know how long it should be.
When you’re considering the length of your business plan, the key concept to remember is that it should be no longer than necessary to stimulate genuine interest in investors, but not so short that you’re unable to prove that you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
Sounds like a dilemma, eh?
The quick answer when you’re wondering about the ideal length for a business plan is that most of them range between 15 and 25 pages.
Of course, other questions are then triggered. Two of the most common questions are:
1. How long should I make the Executive Summary?
The Executive Summary is the “hook” and the first section of your business plan. As such, it should be one to four pages long.
The first page should set forth everything an investor would need or want to know in order to decide whether to read the remaining sections.
2. Does the Typical Length of 15 to 25 Pages Include the Appendix?
Maybe. If the Appendix adds more than ten or so pages, bind it separately from the other nine sections of your business plan. Remember
that a complete set of financial projections must be included in the Appendix to provide support for the Financial Plan and Executive Summary.
Additional supporting documentation on technologies (such as patent information, schematics and so on), partnership and/or customer letters expressing interest in working with your company, a list of key customers, expanded competitor reviews (including both direct and indirect competitors) and other information may also need to be included in the Appendix.
One advantage of binding the Appendix separately relates to the way the business plan will seem physically much more manageable
when handed to an investor. Form follows function, and so does length.
Much like a good novel, your business plan must keep investors engaged no matter how long it is. The purpose of a business plan isn’t so much to convince investors to fund your company – it’s to capture their interest and make them want to meet with you. At the meeting you’ll be able to present your company more comprehensively and dig into the details.